Palm Sunday is best known as the coronation of Jesus our King. But later that day – after the famous parade – our King’s heart was “troubled” as he confronted a dilemma and a question that confronts us in these worrisome days. What is the dilemma and “what shall we say?”
As disciples, our calling in a time like this is to be an extension of Christ’s own doing and being.
If you could have a private audience with Jesus and ask for anything you wanted, what would you ask for? No, really, with all that’s been happening you’ve got one ask and you’ll probably get it. What would it be? What should it be? Here’s an example of how we might pray in these times.
This has to do with our dis-ease: Do I still believe in wellness; do I think it is possible and do I really want it for myself? What about the change will be most disruptive?
This has to do with our trust: Where have I put my trust? In whom or in what do I have faith? Who will take care of me? How do I know I will be okay?
This has to do with our purpose: What are my dreams? What do I want out of life? What kind of life is worth wanting? What desires occupy my thoughts and lead my ambitions?
Most Christians want to help others find their way back to God but for some the idea of sharing the gospel feels awkward. What if, instead of learning a few talking points, we learned a few skills? And what if these skills applied to almost any conversation?
Why is there so much division among us? The walls that divide us are not between different races or generations but in every human heart. The good news is that in Christ these walls come tumbling down as God forms us all into one new Person.
Why does our pursuit of “freedom” only lead to more bondage? We are too easily entangled in things that once gave us pleasure until, before long, we serve them. The good news is that through Christ the Spirit of God has set us free from the power of sin and death.
Why do smart people do stupid things? Our trouble is not rebellion but folly. Blindness. We walk in darkness, “having no idea what we’re stumbling over. The good news is that, in Jesus, God has opened our eyes and we can see things as they really are.
The gospel is not about going to heaven after we die. It’s about heaven coming into us before we die. It’s more than a message. It’s a miracle. And it’s a way of life practiced in community before a world that is desperate for answers.
It has never been harder, and it has never been more urgent to share the gospel than it is today: harder because people are disenchanted and less interested, yet urgent because so much is at stake. But even when the soil is hard, we must keep sowing.
To humble ourselves and obey is the nature of God: “Being in very nature God . . . he made himself nothing and took the very nature of a servant . . . (then) he humbled himself, and became obedient,” (Phil. 2:6-8). This is not only Jesus’ humanity; it’s ours at its best. It’s who we are and who we want to be.
Sometimes obedience means believing the impossible, saying the absurd, holding onto he improbable simply because we’ve heard God’s Voice. It means being the minority report. Sometimes the certainty of it is unclear, even to us, so it is only by looking back that we know what the will of God was.
Contrary to popular belief, our possessions lie at the heart of our spiritual lives because whatever we do with them, for better or worse, we do to ourselves. That’s why the widow who “put in everything – all that she had to live on” is so impressive a model of discipleship. In sharp contrast to the “long and flowing robes” of the Pharisees, she quietly reflects the character of God’s own gift, Jesus, who noticed her.
But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance… The Lord does not look at the things man looks at… the Lord looks at the heart.” On discernment as the single most important practice for dealing with complexity in our contemporary lives.
Look I have put my words in your mouth. Get up and prepare for action.” On the importance of Biblical imagination.
The voice said to me, ‘Son of man, eat what I am giving you – eat this scroll – (and) let my words sink deep into your own heart first; then go to the people in exile.” On the importance of putting ourselves before the Word and obeying it, whether anyone else does or not.
“He read aloud from daybreak until noon… and all the people listened attentively to the Book.” On getting reacquainted with Scripture as the Speaking Voice of God.
“After the fire came a gentle whisper . . . and Elijah went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.” On the importance of hearing the still small voice (meditation).